I’d just finished my morning workout. It was 7:45 a.m., marking the start of a spectacular Monday morning. Since stores open at 8 a.m., there wouldn’t be as many people filling the parking lots and aisles.
So, I started my voyage through the back roads leading to Whole Foods with a road map navigating the most efficient route and envisioning precisely where I wanted to park.
I only hit one stoplight and successfully secured my favorite parking spot. I was about 50 paces from the store. Now I could avoid the distractions of waiting in line to get a shopping cart, kids frolicking in my path, and mid-size SUVs running stop signs. My chance of success in getting in and out of the store in less than 15 minutes was high.
With my shopping cart, I ventured to the seafood department. Seeing that monkfish and sockeye salmon were on sale, I requested two of each from my favorite seafood counter worker. After obtaining my proteins, I made a 180-degree turn to the produce section. Whole Foods in Napa is one of my favorite stores specifically because fresh protein is about ten yards from the produce section.
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I found my favorite veggies stocked to almost tumbling off the stands. Sweet potatoes, carrots, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, lettuces, peppers, beets, corn, and fresh herbs anxiously awaited my eager hands.
After acquiring my final vegetable, I made a mad dash to the register, checked out and fled to my car. Following my triumphant return from the grocery store, I unpacked my bags and stocked them in my fridge and freezer. Victory was mine. I now possessed four night’s worth of healthy dinner ingredients and had dodged the rush hour masses, too.
My day continued as I trained clients, conducted meetings with my coaching crew, and concluded with two hours of pickleball tournament preparation practice. Driving home from the courts, I was ready to fire up my pans, pan-sear some fresh monkfish, and sauté the finest cauliflower known to man. Visions of rapture coursed through my subconscious as I anxiously awaited this experience of delicious, body-strengthening food.
As I strolled into my home, covered in sweat and about to collapse from my intense pickleball practice, I was greeted by my amazing fiancée. Seeing the love of my life always resets me to an undefinable state of bliss and contentment.
After our greeting rituals, I heard, “I know you were working so hard today. So, I wanted to surprise you and got you your favorite burrito from La Taquiza.”
A momentary pause occurred in the rhythm of my thoughts. It’s similar to how a musician strums the wrong chord on their guitar when playing at a live venue. As thoughtful as these words were from the most amazing and caring person in the world, I was in disarray. With a high-stakes pickleball tournament in three days, I wanted to fuel my body with the freshest food. Lean protein, vegetables and low glycemic carbohydrates were the only foods on my mind. Not a burrito the size of a small child.
My rationale for putting fresh foods into my body before a physically grueling tournament was backed by the theory that the less processed food I consume, the more efficiently I could absorb the vital nutrients present in these unprocessed, raw, and undenatured forms of food I had purchased during my hyper-efficient visit to the store that morning.
Monkfish has one ingredient, monkfish. Cauliflower follows the same suit. The pairing veggies of garlic and fresh onion only have single ingredients. However, when we compare the amalgamation comprising the burrito, we see ingredients such as flour tortillas, cheese, sour cream and refried beans. As good of a job that La Taquiza does of making my favorite burrito in Napa, this meal didn’t support my goals of being a nimble, agile and lean championship athlete.
The tortilla wrapping the burrito ingredients is composed of flour, a very highly processed carbohydrate possessing a high glycemic index that would spike my insulin levels at a suboptimal time in my day.
Additionally, the gluten proteins present in the tortilla can cause bloating and water retention. The delicious cheese ribboned throughout the meat, beans, and burrito rice are also processed items with insulin-spiking properties and heavy fats that sit in the digestive system for long periods.
I bypassed the burrito as I told her about my goals of dominating the tournament that weekend. Being the supportive, understanding, and amazing woman she is, she offered to drop the burrito off to her friend’s 10-year-old son following his basketball practice. Surely that young human with the metabolism of a kangaroo mouse could harness the full potential the burrito offered.
Focusing on consuming fresh and unprocessed foods allows the digestive tract to process food and efficiently absorbing the water, protein, and vitamins and minerals in these foods. Making a few extra trips to the store might be a hassle. However, if we can forge our habits to consume more fresh and raw foods, our bodies will be able to perform like a champion in our everyday lives.
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